Probate in Texas can be simpler and less expensive than in other states, where Dependent Administrations are required for all matters. In Texas under certain circumstances, the Court can authorize an Independent Administration, where once appointed the Independent Executor has authority to act without bond and is only required to present an Inventory, Appraisal and List of Claims to the Court. After receiving Letters Testamentary, the Executor is able to handle the business of the estate, pay debts, make distributions under the Will without the supervision of the Court.
When a person dies with no Will but owning or entitled to real or personal property in Texas; or when there has been a will probated in this State or elsewhere, or an administration in this State upon the estate of such decedent, and any real or personal property in this State has been omitted from the will or from the administration, or no final disposition has been made in the administration, then the Court may determine and declare who are the heirs and only heirs of the deceased person, and their respective shares and interests. These are called proceedings to declare heirship.
Where the court is satisfied that a will should be admitted to probate, that there are no unpaid debts owing by the estate of the testator, excluding debts secured by liens on real estate, or for other reason finds that there is no necessity for administration upon the estate, the court may admit such will to probate as a muniment of title only. The person or persons entitled to property under the provisions of such wills shall be entitled to deal with and treat the properties to which they are entitled in the same manner as if the record of title were vested in their names.
Once a Will has been admitted to probate, the estate of the deceased person must be administered by the executor to locate all of the assets, pay all of the debts of the estate that are legally due, and finally disburse property to the beneficiaries under the will. Under an Independent Administration, most of the activity will be done by the Independent Executor, with the advice of his/her attorney. Under a Dependent Administration, most actions will be done only with the permission of the Court. In all circumstances, the executor has a fiduciary duty to the estate, the creditors and ultimately to the beneficiaries/heirs.